Canadians Can Be Malnourished and Obese at the Same Time

There's more attention being paid to food insecurity. There should be. It's a blight on Canadian health policy, especially where kids are concerned. Here let's talk about the linkage between food insecurity, poverty and obesity: the "hunger-obesity paradox."

You don't have to be poor to be fat. (Fat, rather than obese, is the preferred term for some who are overweight; I use both). The percentage of men who are fat tends to be spread across the economic spectrum. For women, there is more concentration of obesity among those who are poor. Those with low incomes are much more likely to rely on government programs, including those that are focused on providing basic requirements for food and drink. Their children can be at heightened risk for many negative outcomes. The meeting of fundamental nutritional needs has come to be referred to as "food security," a term that emphasizes that people have to have not only enough calories but also sufficiently healthy ones in their diets.

A focus on obesity, on the one hand, and the need for and lack of food security for the poor, on the other, has led to the "hunger-obesity paradox": individuals can be both fat and ill-fed simultaneously. Or, as some term it: "the new malnutrition."

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